Over the weekend, Chien-Ming Wang threw the equivalent of 5.2 scoreless innings. It was his second extended spring training game, and Wang told The Associated Press that he felt close to being ready to pitch in a regular game. It seems Wang’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre debut isn’t too far away.
For now, the Yankees Triple-A rotation has included Dellin Betances, Brett Marshall and Vidal Nuno — which was expected — and without Wang or Adam Warren, the rest of the starts have gone to Chris Bootcheck and Graham Stoneburner, who came up from Double-A after Phil Hughes was scratched from his rehab outing.
Betances got two outs and was charged with six earned runs in his most recent start, and Marshall has allowed five earned and four walks in each of his two starts.
Nuno has been more of a bright spot. In his first two Triple-A outings, Nuno has a 2.31 ERA with 12 strikeouts and no walks. It seems to be a continuation of what he started in spring training.
• Speaking of Triple-A debuts, reliever Mark Montgomery has made three appearances for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s pitched five innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. He’s allowed four hits, one of which is a home run that accounts for his only run.
• Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is last in the International League in runs scored. They’ve hit exactly one home run (Melky Mesa hit it, and also has 16 strikeouts) and they have only two players hitting better than .259 (Austin Romine is hitting .333 with no extra-base hits; Addison Maruszak is hitting .385 with eight walks and just two strikeouts).
• Down from the big leagues, Cody Eppley has pitched three scoreless innings and has one win out of the bullpen.
• Double-A center fielder Slade Heathcott is day-to-day with a stiff neck. He’s played in only six of 10 games but already has two doubles, a triple and a stolen base.
• Trenton is off to a terrific start at 7-3, and the best offensive numbers have come from — surprise — extra outfielder Neil Medchill who’s hitting .361/.425/.611 with two homers. A close second in terms of offensive numbers is J.R. Murphy, hitting .344/.447/.500 with a homer and as many walks as strikeouts. Tyler Austin is hitting just .256 with 14 strikeouts, but he has nine RBI with four doubles and a home run. It goes without saying that it’s incredibly early.
• Good pitching so far in Trenton. Out of the bullpen, Jeremy Bleich has pitched eight innings without an earned run, Shaeffer Hall has pitched 7.2 scoreless, Kelvin Perez has pitched 7 scoreless and Dan Burawa has 11 strikeouts in six innings. Out of the rotation, Caleb Cotham has allowed one run in each of his two starts, Matt Tracy pitched five scoreless last time out (five runs in a third of an inning first time out), and Zach Nuding allowed one run through six innings last time (after allowing seven unearned in 3.2 innings his previous start).
• Gary Sanchez is hitting .350/.395/.600 in Tampa. He has four doubles and two homers. Of those top four guys in the Yankees system — Heathcott, Austin, Sanchez and Mason Williams — Sanchez is off to the hottest start. Williams is with him in Tampa and hitting .263/.391/.368.
• Kind of a sleeper prospect in the system, Ben Gamel is making his High-A debut and hitting .375 with seven doubles through 10 games. … Not off to nearly the same start is Tampa second baseman Angelo Gumbs, who’s hitting just .088 with all three of his hits coming in the first two games.
• Two turns through the Tampa rotation, Bryan Mitchell, Shane Greene, Mikey O’Brien and Corey Black have each reached double-digit strikeouts. Black and Mitchell each have a pair of five-strikeout games. Greene has an eight-strikeout game.
• Last year’s Low-A Charleston lineup was full of prospects, but it’s this year’s Charleston team that already has four guys — Dante Bichette Jr., Peter O’Brien, Cito Culver and Yeicok Calderon — with two home runs apiece. That’s an interesting group of prospects, including two guys trying to bounce back from bad seasons. Bichette has 13 RBI already, but he’s only hitting .191.
• Also from Charleston: Greg Bird already has 11 walks for a .415 on-base percentage … Saxon Butler has only one home run, but six doubles for a .543 slugging percentage … Rob Refsnyder is off to a .349/.429/.442 start in his first full year as a pro.
• Two turns through the Charleston rotation, Rafael DePaula has allowed four earned runs through 6.1 innings and Jose Campos has allowed four earned through six innings — he went three scoreless last time out — but the early standout is overshadowed Gabe Encinas who has pitched 12 innings with 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts.
Associated Press photo of Wang, headshots of Montgomery, Heathcott, Sanchez and Bichette